CAMBRIDGE residents are being asked for their views on proposals to improve air quality in the city.
Today sees the launch of a proposed Air Quality Action Plan by Cambridge City Council. The draft plan, which has been developed jointly with the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridgeshire County Council, sets out priorities over the next five years, for improving areas of poor air quality and maintaining areas of good air quality across the city.
The proposed actions to be taken under the plan fall into three main categories:
- Reducing local traffic emissions as quickly as possible to meet national objectives
- Maintaining levels of pollutants below national objectives, including by using planning policies to ensure new communities are designed to make it easy for people to use environmentally-friendly modes of transport
- Improving public health - educating people about the health impacts of air quality and encouraging them to make changes to their lifestyles, including by shifting to more active modes of transport like walking and cycling
Among the specific proposals included in the draft plan policies and incentives to ensure taxis are fully electric or hybrid vehicles within 10 years
The draft action plan also outlines how the council will work with partners on a potential Clean Air Zone for Cambridge, increase the provision of electric vehicle charging facilities in city centre car parks, and develop additional planning policies to improve air quality.
The consultation runs from 21 June until 18 September. Residents can have their say online at www.cambridge.gov.uk/consultations or paper copies can be requested from the Customer Service Centre at Mandela House, Regent Street.
The launch of the public consultation coincides with national Clean Air Day, when local councils, schools, hospitals, workplaces and communities take part in activities to promote better air quality.
As well as the start of the Air Quality Action Plan consultation, the council is using National Clean Air Day to invite local residents and groups to make pledges to do their bit to improve air quality in Cambridge. The pledges include:
- Leaving their car at home and using alternative transport
- Switching off their vehicle’s engine whenever possible
- Walking with children to school
- Walk or cycle to more work meetings
- Investigate car sharing opportunities when you need to drive
More information on National Clean Air Day can be found at www.cleanairday.org.uk
Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Environment and City Centre, said: “One of the council’s main priorities, especially as the city grows, is to ensure that Cambridge remains an attractive and safe place for people to live, work and visit.
“Poor air quality can have a seriously detrimental effect on people’s health, which is why it is vital we take steps to ensure the air we all breathe remains safe for everyone.
“Our draft Air Quality Action Plan sets out some of the ways we aim to ensure this in the years to come. We would welcome your views on our proposals, and any other suggestions for tackling air quality in the city.”